Home Wi-Fi 'crucial' for wireless take-up

The Wi-Fi industry is focusing its attention on the home as Myzones - which aims to make it easy to share bandwidth with neighbouring homes - is launched
Written by Graeme Wearden, Contributor

The implementation of wireless home networks is key to achieving a significant take-up of Wi-Fi, operators now believe.

Clive Mayhew-Begg, chief zones officer for Myzones, told an audience at The Wireless LAN Event at London's Olympia conference centre on Thursday that talk of mobile workers needing Wi-Fi access primarily when they're on the move misses a key fact -- mobile workers have homes too, and they want to be able to work effectively from there.

"The home is so critical -- people need to be able to take their wireless laptop away from work and work at home," explained Mayhew-Begg.

David Hughes, head of mobility at BT, backed up the view that Wi-Fi at home was key to letting people work and access the Internet whenever they want to. "It's about your whole day," said Hughes, offering the example of a businessperson who begins work at home, then moves via hot spots to the office to complete the day's work.

BT Openzone made a move into the home wireless market this week when it launched a bundled Wi-Fi and ADSL service.

Myzones -- which launched this week -- is also targeting this sector, with a service that allows a home user to share their broadband bandwidth with their neighbours. Described as an "integrated Wi-Fi broadband service", it claims to make it easy for consumers to set up and manage a secure wireless home network, to share the connection, and to access wireless when on the move. Myzones can supply a wireless access point and an ADSL connection to home users who need both. Alternatively, the access point -- which Myzones says will be configured to prevent unauthorised access -- can be bought separately.

Myzones will charge £29.99 per month for the ADSL and Wi-Fi service, which it calls My Wi-Fi Broadband.

The Wi-Fi only service, called My Wi-Fi, costs £9.99 per month. For this, users get a secure Wi-Fi network -- which a technically adept user could set up, but which a novice might struggle with -- with the ability to share the bandwidth with neighbours, and software designed to make it easier to connect to public hot spots.

Myzones also plans to launch its own commercial public Wi-Fi network, but few details are available at this stage.

A Myzones representative told ZDNet UK that the company is confident that ISPs will not object to users sharing bandwidth with neighbours. However, some ISPs have objected to this in the past, and it may violate a user's contract.

Discover the latest developments in Wi-Fi, 3G, GPRS and other cutting-edge wireless technologies at ZDNet UK's Wireless News Section.

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